2020 has been tough for many industries and some, 2021 may even be a tougher challenge. However, there were a few industries that benefited from the effects of the pandemic like the esports industry. This just makes sense as many esports tournaments were able to push through last year while professional sports events got canceled or postponed.
Last year, when many major sports leagues like the NBA and the EPL were put on hold, there just wasn’t a lot for sports fans to look forward to. Even the betting industry was affected by this but they had to be creative to thrive. And so, BetNow Sportsbook and many others had to find different odds that they could offer to their customers like esports tournaments.
How the Pandemic Boosted the Growth of Esports
Since many people had to stay safe in their homes during quarantine and lockdown periods, this somehow made people give more attention to indoor activities like playing online games. People started to play video, online, and even casino games to keep themselves entertained during such periods.
The giants of the gaming industry like Nintendo and Tencent reported an increase in their sales in the first quarter of last year alone. Nintendo reported that they sold almost half of its games digitally which made its profits increase by 41 percent. Tencent’s year-on-year online games revenue then increased by 31 percent.
Game streaming platforms like YouTube Gaming, Twitch, and Facebook Gaming were also reported to have experienced growth of around a 20 percent increase in usage hours.
Mike Sepso, the co-founder and CEO of Vindex, an esports infrastructure platform, talked about the growth of esports last year. He said, “Unique to gaming is that it has both interactive and linear consumption models, and the activity of watching gaming video streams and video-on-demand has become nearly as big as gaming itself.
“In the COVID-19 era, all of this activity has increased dramatically because of both the new time available to people and their need for social interaction, which gaming provides. We have directors, producers, broadcast engineers, and professional gamers all working remotely to recreate the excitement and quality of a live event.
“Esports has been able to continue while the traditional sport has not because the playing field is virtual and can be replicated online; however, nothing can truly replace the social richness of the live experience.”
What 2021 Holds for the Esports Industry
Well, things are not yet exactly back to normal but esports is still likely to get more following this year. Even before the pandemic, it has already been slowly growing. It’s just that 2020 somehow boosted its growth. Even if professional sports events are back on track, many people were still introduced to esports and we can still expect bookies to offer more odds on esports tournaments this year.
Recently, Market researcher Newzoo has published its report on the upcoming esports trends this year. According to them, there will be more mobile esports tournaments, diversification, and non-gaming content this year.
Newzoo reported that mobile is already starting to dominate the esports market which used to be heavily catering to PC games. It was indeed reported that games like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire have peaked before 2020 ended. However, PC games like Counter-Strike: GO still had higher overall ratings last year.
Diversification will also be noted this year as esports teams start to carry on with diversifying their operations. The report also suggested that signing up content creators can also be advantageous to businesses. This means that gaming content creators are more likely going to be sponsored by non-gaming companies this year.
Speaking on gaming content creators, they may also start to be known for other things that they can do on their streams. The report also highlighted that Twitch’s “Just Chatting” category is now becoming more popular. This type of content is when gaming creators would just talk to their viewers or simply talk about particular topics instead of playing games on their streams.
This category is now the most-streamed on Twitch. Even popular YouTube Gaming streamers like PewDiePie and JackScepticEye are also going out of their gaming comfort zone to keep their fans entertained. We may see more game streamers following such a course this year.
We are still dealing with a pandemic and now that more and more countries are starting to roll out vaccines, things may finally get better in the next few months. Even if the pandemic has boosted the growth of esports last year, the pandemic ending won’t necessarily mean that esports will then no longer thrive. This year, we can still expect more following for the esports industry even without a pandemic.